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China and Japan on way to deepen cooperation

China Daily    2019-06-27 11:11:00    

Editor's Note: Sino-Japanese relations have improved of late. But will the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, on Friday and Saturday create greater scope for Sino-Japanese cooperation? Two experts share their views on the issue with China Daily's Pan Yixuan. Excerpts follow:

Both sides need to promote Multilateralism, free trade

Zhang Jingquan, vice-president of the School of Northeast Asia Studies and the Institute of International Studies, Shandong University

China-Japan political relations were all but frozen until Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited China in October last year. Abe's visit not only thawed bilateral relations but also raised hopes that, heeding the call of the international community to promote multilateralism and free trade to counter the threat posed by unilateralism and protectionism, China and Japan would strengthen coordination and cooperation.

A free trade agreement among China, Japan and the Republic of Korea is one of the issues the three countries are likely to discuss on the sidelines of the G20 Summit. Although the China-Japan-ROK FTA was proposed in 2002, it is yet to become reality due to the lack of an agreement among the three sides, except for a trilateral secretariat being established in the ROK in 2011. If the three countries can accelerate the negotiation process and finalize the FTA, it will inject vigor into trilateral economic cooperation and regional development, especially at a time when economic globalization is facing serious challenges.

China and Japan could start by expanding maritime cooperation, including maritime environmental protection, ocean governance and scientific expeditions. Staying clear of maritime issues that could pose a threat to each other's national security, the two sides could focus on matters of common interests to expand maritime cooperation.

Besides, the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative can be helpful in expanding regional cooperation in Northeast Asia. Cooperation between the second-and third-largest economies of the world under the Belt and Road framework will not only boost regional development but also allow Japan to play a bigger role in the initiative's progress.

Mutual interests lead to new growth points

Shen Haitao, a professor at Northeast Asian Studies College, Jilin University

Due to rising trade protectionism and unilateralism in some parts of the world, and global uncertainties as a consequence, China and Japan have been motivated to promote multilateralism and strengthen regional cooperation. By deepening cooperation, the two sides can help meet their respective needs for economic growth, as well as promote globalization and safeguard regional stability.

Trade issues are expected to be high on the G20 Summit's agenda, not least because Japan's exports in May fell 7.8 percent year-on-year-the sixth monthly decline in a row-amid Sino-US trade frictions and their negative impact on the global market. Earlier this month, Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said that, by imposing punitive tariffs on imports, the US is not only harming countries that are promoting globalization and free trade but also itself.

International relations are another area that demands urgent cooperation. Japan is seeking to use the G20 Summit in Osaka to enhance its influence in regional governance and therefore play a bigger role in resolving regional issues, such as the disputes between Beijing and Washington, and the Korean Peninsula denuclearization issue.

And since China and Japan both benefit from the multilateral trade system and the regional security mechanism, they should expand cooperation in trade and security.

With Tokyo set to host the Olympic Games next year and the Japanese elections scheduled for 2021, Japan is more than eager to maintain regional stability, which in turn prompts it to strengthen communication and boost cooperation with China. As for broader regional development, the Belt and Road Initiative can dovetail with the Japan-proposed investment cooperation plan to develop infrastructure in Central Asian countries.

The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

Editor:Yu Liang